Good morning and greetings, national pastime fans. Yes, the baseball season is underway, but from the way the Yankees played last week, I probably won’t start paying attention until after the World Series. I know the regular season is 162 games and that championships aren’t won or lost in April, but let’s face it, this New York team is older than the combined age of Derek Jeter’s last two girlfriends. Throw in the steroid sidelined Alex Rodriquez, who hasn’t bunted for a hit since he dated Madonna, and the Yankees hopes for contending this season might be shorter than A-Rod’s relationship with Cameron Diaz.
That being said, Hope Solo still springs eternal, as the flowers are blooming and the pollen count is higher than our military alert because of North Korean leader Kim Jong Incredibly Young, who has threatened to attack the U.S. with diversified nuclear missiles and marinated short ribs. I don’t want to say this 28-year-old stud puppet is a maniac, but he’s running his mouth and worrying more people than top donors threatening to withhold all money from any Democrat who doesn’t support President Obama’s background checks on guns n roses.
This up-and-coming dictator may be one crazy son-of-a-bitch, but enough of the talk of war. Kim JU, why don’t you stop the tough talk and go back to what you do best, watching basketball, collecting Nike sneakers and starving your people in slave labor camps.
Moving along, April 7 was a big day in the Gilbert household, and not because I spent the afternoon schmoozing with NBA legend Jerry West. It was a double birthday occasion, as my son Jason and brother Brad celebrated the day they took that once-in-a lifetime trip through the birth canal and then popped out of the womb and into a world full of rainbows, gumdrops and NFL football. Jason was supposed to have exited my wife on April 6, but after her water broke we decided to take in dinner and a movie, so his jumping out point came just after midnight, which forever bonded with my youngest brother, along with Russell Crowe, Francis Ford Coppola and Kong Sun Chan, better known to his close friends as Jackie. Those first 60 minutes of new life were truly a rush hour.
So that got me to thinking, how did all this cake, candles and wishing we were either younger or older come into play? Well, thanks to the folks at tokenz.com, let’s take a look at some fun facts about the birthday experience.
More than 9% of all people celebrate their birthday in August, more than in any other month in the year. This has always been a bummer for August born kids, as later on, they get gyped in the birthday gift department when friends are away on summer vacations. Just ask any young Leo.
The world’s biggest birthday cake was created in 1989 for the 100th birthday for the city of Fort Payne, Alabama. The cake weighed in at 128,238 pounds and used 16,209 pounds of icing. If you visit Fort Payne, stop by City Hall and grab a piece as this mother of all sugar substances is still active.
Sir Paul McCartney’s birth certificate was auctioned off in March 1997 for $84,146. It is believed to be the world’s most expensive birth certificate. On a similar vein, on my daughter’s last birthday, her wish was to receive the world’s most expensive gift certificate to Forever 21.
In 1996, the Sultan of Brunei hosted the world’s most expensive birthday party to celebrate his 50th birthday, at a whopping cost of $27.2 million. $16 million went to Michael Jackson, who gave three concerts, while each guest left with a party bag filled with stickers, a yo-yo and $500,000 in cash.
A recent survey suggests that more people are born on October 5 in the U.S. than on any other day. This means that conception would take place on New Year’s Eve. Thus we smile and wish others, “Happy New Year.”
The origination of the birthday cake was started by John Stamos and the early Greeks, who used to take round cakes to the temple of Artemis, the Goddess of Moon. The custom of lighting candles was started by Plato because it made the cake glow like a moon. His buddy Socrates believed that the gods lived in the sky and that by lighting candles it helped to send a signal and a prayer. Today that’s called texting. People still make silent wishes before they blow out the candles, and after sixty years I am still waiting for one of them to come slightly true.
The song ‘Happy Birthday,’ is recognized as one of the most popular in the English language, along with ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ It is was written and composed back in 1893 by two sisters, Mildred J. Hill and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, a teacher and principal at a school in Louisville, Kentucky. However, the sisters vehemently denied writing the lyrics, “You belong in a zoo. You look like a monkey…”
The most famous rendition of this song was sung by Marilyn Monroe, when she serenaded JFK with, “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” a sultry rendition that made more than Congress rise and cheer. She would be found dead three months later. She passed away far too young. In her words, “I’m not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.” Unfortunately, much like my first modeling agent, she was as troubled as she was beautiful.
Let’s finish with a joke. Every morning a man passes a house on his street and sees a woman in her front yard beating her husband over the head with a French bread. This goes on for months until one morning he passes the house and sees the woman beating her husband with a large eclair. Later that day he meets the woman in the street. “Aren’t you the woman who beats her husband with a French bread?” asks the man. “Only today, I could have sworn you were hitting him with a big cake.” Oh, I was,” replied the woman. “Today is his birthday.”
On to the photos. Weather forecasters predicted that last Thursday’s rain would be the finale for the wet season. So that morning, I threw on my Brittney Griner poncho and headed up to the Arboretum at UCSC. A light mist was falling when I arrived, creating ideal conditions. The Arboretum, which has the largest collection of Australian and New Zealand plants outside of their native countries, was deserted expect for rabbits, quail and madly buzzing hummingbirds. The flowers were loaded down with moisture from the steady overnight rain, and the resulting photos were just dewlicious. As author Ruth Stout once said, “I love spring everywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden,” as I did in my youth, in the Garden State of New Jersey.
On to a little late night. “Yesterday President Obama shot baskets at the White House and made only two shots out of 22. Even Dick Cheney was like, ‘That guy needs to learn how to shoot.’ “President Obama went only two for 22. It’s tough times for Obama – one minute, he’s asking Congress to raise the debt ceiling; the next, he’s asking them to lower the hoop.” –Jimmy Fallon
“North Korea is now threatening the United States with all-out war. You can see they’re stepping it up. In fact, they released 10 more photos of Kim Jong Un looking through binoculars. Tensions continue to mount in this North Korea situation. The U.S. has moved a Navy warship off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Is that going to scare the North Koreans? If you really want to scare them, don’t send a warship. Send a Carnival cruise ship.” – Jay Leno
“The federal government says it will do one more study on the risk of cellphone radiation. Or as the guy with the third ear growing out of his neck said, “That’s cool. Take your time.” Last week Justin Bieber had to leave his pet monkey with customs officials in Germany after he entered the country without the right paperwork. Officials told him, “You have to leave your little friend behind. And the monkey said, “Sorry, Justin, I guess you’ve got to stay.” – Jimmy Fallon “Model Heidi Klum was in Hawaii and saved her 7-year-old son from drowning. The rip tide pulled him out, and Heidi jumped in the water and saved him. I was surprised the kid isn’t a better swimmer. He’s half seal, isn’t he?” – Jay Leno
So birthday wishes go to my son, who turned 19 and now admits he enjoys giving tours to prospective students and their families at UC Santa Barbara almost as much as taking it to me one-on-one, and to my brother Brad, who just came back from a heli snowboarding trip to Alaska. If you haven’t been on top of a glacier recently, you can check out his blog at
And one more birthday thought goes out today to my webmaster/math teacher of the year friend Kevin Deutsch, who will admit in private that the chow fun here is better than it was in Laguna Beach.
We’ll catch you scoring 40 plus points in three straight games while showing NBA fans why the New York Knicks will be a dangerous team come playoff time. Aloha, mahalo and later, Carmelo Anthony fans.